Tuesday, 29 November 2011

First Impressions of the Tortosa Campaign

The campaign is only 10 days old, but already we have completed three moves and are writing orders for the fourth move. Not bad going, particularly with nine players spread throughout the world.

This campaign has changed greatly from the previous one. In particular allowing detached garrisons is proving a challenge - for me as well as the corps commanders.

The idea of detached garrisons was to make it more difficult for the French to immediately crush the Spanish armies. Each corps had to detach three of its four infantry brigades prior to the start of the campaign. Each brigade was 3-6 squares (15 to 30 miles) from corps HQ. This meant that any orders for them had to be sent by message. In the previous campaign all brigades had to remain within command range of corps HQ.

Each corps is only allowed one message each turn. So they have to decide whether to write orders to a detached brigade, and if so which one. Or whether it would be better to write to a nearby corps commander and try to coordinate their battle plan.

If they order a brigade to return to corps, which most have, then I have to keep track of the brigade until it gets back. This has caused a problem, as I had not anticipated it would require an additional order system. It meant that after two moves I had to change the whole message system.

Then there is the problem of how a Spanish corps can tackle a fortified town. The rules make it clear that it is almost impossible to do if the garrison is full strength. A full Spanish corps would need a dice throw of 6.

I did anticipate that there might be problems here, so I posted on the campaign forum that it would be difficult, and that they should consult the campaign rules before attempting it. Despite this two of them went ahead and attempted to storm a town, with the predictable result that both lost casualties and had to withdraw.

Which just goes to show that it is not necessary to have complicated rules to create confusion, just allow the players a little more freedom of choice and they will produce it themselves.

It is all adding greatly to the feel of the campaign, which has a distinct Spanish flavour of confusion and fog of war.

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